The Latest: France, UK sign deal to improve border controls

AP News
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Posted: Jan 18, 2018 1:44 PM
The Latest: France, UK sign deal to improve border controls

CAMBERLEY, England (AP) — The Latest on the meeting Thursday between French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says Britain and France have signed a treaty to improve the management of their common border and to deal more humanely with migrants.

Macron says the Sandhurst Treaty was signed by the two countries' interior ministers at a summit Thursday at Britain's Sandhurst military academy.

He says it will cut the time it takes to process migrants who gather in the northern French port of Calais hoping to reach Britain, and to treat them more humanely and efficiently. Macron wants Britain to take more migrants from Calais but no figure was given Thursday.

Macron says the border issue "is a common challenge and we shall succeed together."

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12:05 p.m.

In a significant gesture, British Prime Minister Theresa May has offered funds to ease French annoyance over a 2003 deal that placed British border controls in Calais, on the French side of the English Channel.

The town has become a magnet for migrants hoping to reach Britain, and the accord puts the burden of blocking their entry to the U.K. on France.

Britain agreed Thursday to pay 44.5 million pounds ($62 million) for fences, security cameras and other measures in Calais and nearby English Channel ports. France also wants Britain to take in more migrants from Calais, especially unaccompanied children, but there was no announcement on that issue.

The U.K. also said it will send three Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters and dozens of personnel to join France's military mission against Islamic militants in Africa's Sahel region. France has led efforts to fight al-Qaida and IS-linked jihadi groups in the vast region south of the Sahara desert.

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9:10 a.m.

The leaders of Britain and France have met against a military backdrop, with the U.K. promising to help boost border security in France and support French military missions as part of moves to bind the countries closer together after Brexit.

The announcement came as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron held a bilateral summit Thursday intended to strengthen security and intelligence ties between the neighboring nations, and to build goodwill as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union.

The venue — the Sandhurst military academy southwest of London — was selected as a signal that the relationship between western Europe's two biggest military powers won't be weakened once the U.K. leaves the EU in 2019.

It's Macron's first visit to Britain since he became president of France in May 2017.